"The Rhode Island legislature made history today, becoming the third state legislature in the country to pass a law that guarantees workers paid time off to care for seriously ill family members and new children. Rhode Island is now poised to become the third state to adopt such a comprehensive policy, in the greatest paid leave advance since the implementation of New Jersey’s similar paid family leave law in 2009.
Paid leave laws are good for working families, businesses and local economies. Governor Chafee should recognize the benefits and quickly sign this bill into law. When he does, Rhode Island will become a true leader, joining California and New Jersey in promoting families’ economic stability when new children arrive or family members need care. Washington state has also taken substantial steps to try to ensure new parents can take paid leave, but its paid leave program has not been funded.
Rhode Island’s bill is strong and inclusive. It would expand the state’s temporary disability insurance program to include temporary caregiver insurance, providing up to four weeks of wage replacement to workers who take time off to care for a seriously ill child, spouse, parent, grandparent, parent-in-law or domestic partner, or to bond with a new child. It includes job protection and continuation of health benefits during periods of leave.
We are thrilled about this great victory and commend the dedicated lawmakers, advocates and workers in Rhode Island who have demonstrated that progress for working families is possible and who make the case for a national paid leave program even stronger. As we also celebrate a tremendous paid sick days victory in New York City, we now have even more evidence of the strong support for family friendly policies like these. We look forward to this bill becoming law, and other victories to come.”
The National Partnership for Women & Families drafted and led the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act. The organization is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at www.NationalPartnership.org.